Saint Leo men's soccer squad sputters at start
By STEVE LEE
© St. Petersburg Times,
SAINT LEO -- Coach Fran Reidy is trying to get a good read on the Saint Leo team.
Is it as good as the squad that beat five-time NCAA Division II national champion Southern Connecticut State 3-2? Or, with both losses being shutouts, is it offensively challenged? "It's getting everybody on the same page," Reidy said. "When we are, we're very good."
The Lions' 1-2 start notwithstanding, Reidy prefers to dwell on the lone victory, when his club rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
"When they had us 2-0, a program of that caliber can really put you away, and they didn't," Reidy said. "They kind of melted (in the heat)."
Two of three transfers from Argentina made key contributions. Defender Juan Palacio had a goal, and midfielder Claus Hagedorn had two assists. Freshmen Neil Laxdal, a defender, and midfielder Tony Rosso provide depth and balance. Former Gulf goalkeeper Charlie Long has started every game and made some critical saves against Southern Connecticut.
Coming off a 7-9-2 season, Reidy -- a two-time Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year -- enters his 14th season with visions of finishing above .500. Matching the school record of 14 wins, however, "depends on chemistry," Reidy said.
RIDDLE ME THIS: When is a loss worth more than a win?
According to Saint Leo women's soccer coach Tony Paris, when losing to a top-quality team will accomplish more than beating a patsy. And that strategy, he said, could go a long way in the Lions contending for an SSC crown by their fourth season.
"I could have put a schedule together where we could have won 70 percent of our games," Paris said. "But we wouldn't be learning and getting better."
The second-year Lions are one-game better than last season, when they went 0-16. A 3-0 win over Northwood (Texas) on Sept. 2 leaves Saint Leo at 1-1 entering Friday's home game against Montevallo (Ala.). Junior Amber Ferrol, who has a 1.00 goals against average and 16 saves in two games, earned her first shutout against Northwood.
"She's very, very aggressive," Paris said. "She's an integral part of the team."
Paris said he thinks his squad is better than last year primarily because of depth.
Sweeper Liz Conroy (Ridgewood) and Brittany Smith, a transfer from Warner Southern, anchor the defense. April Sampson, Angie Deangerlis Kate McKenna and Helen Brady patrol the midfield.
Striker Caron Lumbra and Kayte Kalivoda are proven finishers. Lumbra scored in the first minute against Northwood, and Kalivoda, who scored in a 2-1 loss to Warner Southern, is the first Lion to be named the conference's offensive player of the week.
Kalivoda is "a gamer," Paris said. "She's very, very strong, and she has good vision. And she has so much desire to win."
FLOREA SHINES: Tina Florea apparently saves her best for tournament play. Saint Leo's junior outside hitter from Romania made an all-tournament team for the third time last weekend. Florea averaged 4.7 kills, 4.1 digs and had 6 assists with a .456 attack percentage in the Armstrong Atlantic Classic at Savannah, Ga. Florea also made all-tourney teams in the Saint Leo Showdown and the USC-Aiken Classic.
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